by Sophia Jactel
David Kowalski has a burning passion for antiques. As the owner of Brick + Mortar, an antiques company with a strong online presence and a storefront located in the Westside Provisions District, he has turned what was once an impressive personal collection into what is now a full-fledged business.
With items ranging from a mid-century telephone book holder to Frohse anatomical charts, Kowalski has created a refreshingly eclectic, carefully curated and creatively intriguing assembly of antiques with one purpose at the forefront: the preservation of their history. “If you surround yourself with things that matter and have a story, your home will feel better,” he says. To Kowalski, the stories behind his hand-picked pieces are not only the most beautiful thing about them but are what gives them soul. An antique without an intriguing past is as good as dead in his eyes. “That’s the sign of an interesting piece: it makes you think about its life.”
An Atlanta native, Kowalski also preserves his affinity for the South by seeking to imbue his shop with Southern style and flare. “I love the rustic sort of appeal of the South and the slowness of it,” he says. He wraps it all up into a blend of what he calls early 1900s industrial Americana. “There are very few things in my shop that I wouldn’t put in my own home,” he asserts.
“We can get so stuck in our way of doing life and our way of design and forget that we are a small part of this big world. When we see how other people do things and what other people create and colors they use and textures they use, it opens up a ton of new ways to do things,” he explains. Maybe it comes from the kindness he’s experienced: “I would never in a million years be where I am without the kindness of others. It’s a gift to be able to do what I do and if I am being a good steward of that gift, things will fall into place.” Or maybe it all goes back to the idea of surrounding yourself with things that matter and have a story — whether it’s a person, a place or an antique. “I think wherever you are, you should put roots and appreciate where you’ve been placed,” he reflects, and continues. “The pieces I sell tell the story of men and women who lived here and I love being part of that.”
Brick + Mortar
1170 Howell Mill Rd.